Katya & Zolokhan Chapter 24.Trott Bailey University
Written By Sher Trott-Bailey.
” Now that the Chieftess is away, we Elders cannot allow Mwebele to fall apart.” Elder Tacan shouted vehemently.
” It’s because the Chieftess is away that all these things are happening!” an angry Elder Raffarin shouted back
” Exactly! Exactly! Our Chieftess has gone galavanting and has left us in a mess! Our animals and our women are all unexplainably aborting their babies, Chieftess Dedoka is dead and now fires have broken out among our crops!” Another senior man in the tribe, Yurdul complained bitterly.
” Are you men listening to yourselves? Will you use common sense! How can these events be related to the Chieftess being away? Is this the first time Chieftess Katya has been away from Mwebele, hah? So why was it that nothing happened when she visited Mabutu Tribe and Kezmizi, when she went to the Elephant clan, Even when she visited Byzantine when she was young? So the disasters pick the distance that they prefer to occur at. Oh, so it’s only when the travel is two weeks or more that disasters decide to happen?” An angry Elder Porbok chipped in.
” Chieftess Dedoka was around those times! Listen here you better let us send messengers to call back the Chieftess ohhh!” Elder Raffarin warned.
” Men, men calm down. Calm down. Getting angry will not solve this! Being superstitious will not help either. Mwebele is a great kingdom and is still growing mighty. It may be that we have secret enemies doing all this. Have you considered that?” Elder Tacan asked
“ Secret enemies? secret enemies? Here this fool oh! So secret enemies crawled up into our women’s wombs and plucked out their babies? Secret enemies came in the night and stopped Chieftess Dedoka’s heart? It’s better you keep quiet old man!” Elder Raffarin angrily countered Elder Tacan
” We have already tried to establish any links between what our animals could have eaten that our women have eaten. But even if so, if it was something in the food why aren’t all women or animals affected?” Yurdul asked.
” I suggest we seek divine advice for what’s going on. We will begin fasting. Everyone in the tribe, except the old and young must observe this fast. Any weird behavior by anyone must also be reported. We will entreat God to show us what is happening!” Elder Porbok spoke in a tone that refused all arguments.
” If you say so!” A still unappeased Elder Raffarin concluded.
” It is also fine by me that we seek God’s wisdom.” Yurdul conceded.
” I agree as well.” Elder Tacan said.
” Good! let us go and spread the word to the whole tribe. We will remind them also that any weird happenings or strange behavior no matter how small must be reported to us.” Elder Porbok said.
The command for the observation of a tribal fast went out and no one was allowed to eat before sundown. Following the death and burial of Chieftess Dedoka and the travel of Katya and Zolokhan, the Elders now reported all-important tribal matters that required the intervention of the King and Queen of the united territory, to the elected Vikarge who was currently Zolokhan’s cousin Kitabi.
The Vikarge was in charge of all military command and was directly accountable to the King and Queen. If anyone could get a message to the traveling rulers it would be Kitabı.
” Here place your seals on this message. I have reported our issue to the Vickarge. He will know how to proceed. I hope we will have been able to solve this before the Vickarge has to step in” Elder Porbok said in the meeting to the group of men.
With those final words, the Elders ended the meeting. Some strolled out of Elder Porbok’s tent huffily, especially the ones who had themselves lost crops and animals. Elder Tacan hung back to talk with Elder Porbok.
” These our younger men who we have as elders are very hot-tempered oh.” Elder Tacan said to Elder Porbok
” I can’t blame them, many of our incoming sons have died in miscarriage, perhaps there were even daughters. You know how precious the birth of girls in our tribe is. It’s just recently that girls have started being born, and now this!’ Elder Porbok said shaking his head.
“ I’m sure we will know the answers very soon.” Elder Tacan said comfortingly.
“ I accept that Tacan, may it be so, this very night!” Elder Porbok said his heart determined.
Elder Porbok and Elder Raffarin uncover the truth:
” Elder Porbok I need to sit down, I’m already tired from this here fasting. You know Mwebele people live to eat and party. We are not used to this oh!” Elder Raffarin complained while taking a seat by some soft hay on the opposite side of a well.
Meanwhile, Elder Porbok also took a seat beside him. The hay was stacked fairly high, so anyone passing between the well and the hay would not see the men seated on the other side of the hay. This was why Kym, Maxine, and Shaina were not able to see the two men when they arrived at the well to commit their foul deed.
“ Is this the last of it?” Kym asked Maxine
” Yes, this is the last bit that Acidah gave me,” Maxine replied.
” Alright let’s do this quickly so we won’t be seen. Hurry up and throw it down the well.” Shaina said furtively.
” Hey, I don’t even want 1 drop of this to spill on my fingers. I am pregnant now and I don’t want to lose my baby. So don’t rush me!” Maxine warned
The men had begun overhearing their conversation and Elder Porbok nudged Elder Raffarin to listen.
” Jeez is this Kagobe mixture that awful?” Shaina asked
” It’s awful oh!!” Maxine replied.
“ Good thing we mark the wells we can drink from and don’t poison the ones close to our vicinity or else we and our animals may have fallen victim to our own plan,” Kym interjected.
At the mention of Kagobe liquid, a sudden feeling of electric shock went through Elder Porbok. He could not believe what he was hearing. He quickly peeped out from behind the hay to see the backs of the three women and saw one pouring a clear liquid into the well. Hoisting himself up he quickly sneaked up behind Maxine and grabbed the cow skinned bottle from her hands.
The three women were startled and frightened when they realized who it was.
” So you three have been throwing Kagobe liquid into the wells!”
“ Elder no, it is not what you think,” Maxine answered.
” Spare me your stories I have the evidence and I overheard all that you were saying, so did Elder Raffarin.” Elder Porbok said filled with indignation.
Turning to Elder Raffarin, Elder Porbok shouted out
“ Sound your horn Raffarin! Call the guards.”
” You shameful women, you evil snakes! You destroyers. God has revealed you to us. You will not go unpunished! You better start talking!” Elder Porbok shouted
“ Ahhh! Ahhh! Elder it’s not what you think. It’s just some water we are pouring back into the well now.” Maxine said boldly
” Yes, what is this you are accusing us of. Whatever you heard you must have heard wrong.” Kym backed up Maxine
” You lying tongues! You are trying to tell me that I never heard you? I never heard you say that you were throwing Kagobe liquid into the wells. That you didn’t even want a drop to touch your hands lest you lose your baby that is now in your womb.“
” Elder I was only being cautious by saying I don’t want to lose my baby because of what other women were experiencing not because of what I was pouring back into the water. You must have heard wrong.” Maxine said standing her ground
” This is why you don’t allow evil viperous women like you to talk, you will wiggle your way out of your evil with these your explanations.” Elder Porbok said.
” Well I know what I heard and I have the evidence of this liquid in my hand.” Elder Porbok said
Just then a scared and desperate Shaina charged into Elder Porbok’s hand trying to hit the pouch out of his hand. Shaina thought to herself that,
“ If I can spill the remaining liquid, the main evidence will be gone.”
Luckily Elder Porbok was able to push off the woman and grab the falling bottle of liquid; though some did spill out. By this time Mwebele warriors had gathered at the sound of the warning horn and so had some onlookers.
“ Arrest these women and take them to the Elders’ Parade for questioning. Put them separately and don’t allow them to talk to each other. If they try to talk to each other you are to box then on their mouths.” Elder Raffarin commanded the warriors.
” Yes Elder!” The warriors answered in unison.
The various gossips had peeped out to see the women as they were passing by under arrest. The news of what had happened began spreading through the tribe. Unbeknownst to all the parties at the well, four young boys had also overheard everything from the comfort of a roof. So these four little boys began spreading the story of all that happened at the well.
When Acidah heard the news she began trembling and had to sit down in her house. Magoba was just returning from getting water from the river, not wanting to use any of the wells, when she heard several people telling the story.
” Aye Magoba, haven’t you heard that your friends have been caught red-handed poisoning our wells.” One woman said sneeringly.
” So many babies have died.” Other voices kept repeating
” You know Kagobe leaves are banned throughout all three tribes. It is taboo! Where did these women get so much that they could poison the whole tribe? This thing is big oh, there is much more to it.” One man said gravely to a listening group of young men.
Magoba could not walk away fast enough. She quickly put down her pot at her doorstep and started fast walking to Acidah’s house. When she got there she called out discreetly. Still, there was no answer. She knocked at the doors but still nothing. She went to the side to try and peep through a window and that’s when Magoba saw Acidah seated and staring at nothing. Magoba knocked furtively at the window and called out Acidah’s name.
” Acidah! Acidah!, Acidah,Acidah,,Acidah open the door. Open the door Acidah.” Magoba shouted.
Still, no response came. Magoba then decided that she would have to climb through the window. She got a stool from the front of the yard and brought it to the side window. She pulled open the window and hoisted herself belly first through its opening. Finally able to wiggle her way in, she went to where Acidah was seated.
Magoba slapped her repeatedly across the back. By this time Magoba was very angry and agitated.
” Maxine, Kym, and Shaina are all captured! What are we going to do? What if they call our names?” Magoba asked going straight to the point.
” We are ruined! They will cut off our arms and legs for a crime like this” Magoba said fearfully.
” We must escape Acidah.” Magoba said looking at Acidah for support.
A tired-looking Acidah finally turned to look at Magoba.
” We have got to kill them before they talk.” She said with some semblance of a fight left in her.
” Who says they haven’t already and that guards aren’t on their way here right now to arrest us. I think we should pack up and run.” Magoba said pleadingly.
“ Are you mad! Leave my husband and children! Leave in disgrâce after all I have built here. I cannot leave without my Petrah, I cannot leave my husband. He must not know.” Acidah said, very afraid at the thought of Petrah knowing she was involved in the poisoning.
” We must get to those three and poison them before they go on trial. Since everyone is fasting they may not question them tonight. The Elders will definitely have a trial tomorrow though.” Acidah said while thinking up a plan.
” Ah ah, you want to poison our friends just like that?”
” Oh please Magoba, spare me this your guilt. They would do the same to us if they were in our shoes.” Acidah replied
” Maybe they won’t talk,” Magoba said trying to sound hopeful
” The Elders will torture them into talking,” Acidah said
” Maybe Queen Nebuli can help us.” Magoba said
” Queen Nebuli? Hmmm, mind she doesn’t send someone to execute all of us soon. After all, if we are all silenced there is none to implicate her.” Acidah said knowingly.
” Ahhh God! Oh what have I gotten myself into? Oh ohhh…..ohhh. what do I do? What do I do?” Magoba lamented dropping to the ground and shaking her legs.
” We should run away!” Magoba pleaded
” You can run away. See how far you will get before they catch you!” Acidah said warningly.
” Get yourself together woman. If you dirty your hands with blood once, you must be prepared to continue again. We will kill them. Let’s prepare some Oredenu, it’s the traditional food used to break a fast. The guards can be cajoled and bribed to let us see them and they will be hungry and grateful for the meal. You must not act suspiciously or give us away in any way Magoba. Keep your nerves.” Acidah instructed.
” What if the guards refuse to let us see them even after we try bribing them?” Magoba asked
” We will deal with that if it happens. Have you no ideas, am I the only one with a brain. Can you be of no help except to crying and bombarding me with questions? Gosh.” Acidah said angrily lashing out.
Magoba placed her hands on top of her head and began sobbing. She sobbed for a long while. When she was finally able to somewhat calm herself, she asked
” Where are Petrah and the children?’
” They have gone up in the hillsides. You know it’s Walala (bird) season, they wanted to catch some birds and make village stew.” Acidah answered dimly.
” Ahhh.” Magoba nodded
” Have you thought of anything?” Acidah asked with a hard tone
“ Yes.” Magoba answered
” Well, what is it? Talk now,” Acidah said impatiently
” Well, I was thinking what if we gave the girls TongueKiller poison to stop them from talking. It wouldn’t kill them but they wouldn’t be able to talk and we ex-Kezmizi women don’t know how to write either. So they couldn’t force those who are dumb to talk. If we explained to the girls perhaps they would take the poison willingly.” Magoba suggested.
” TongueKiller, TongueKiller, that is an idea. Yes. We would be under suspicion if they died after we visited them with the food. But maybe less so if we only supplied them with tongue killer.” Acidah said while stroking her forehead. Her head was pounding really hard and it felt like a fog was clouding her mind.
” Do you have some?” Magoba asked
” Yes, I have a bit. It’s rare but I have it.” Acidah said
“ Good let’s go then,” Magoba replied
“ Not so fast. We will still take the food and the other poison. If any of them refuse to take tongue killer we will secretly put the other poison in that person’s food. Plus wash your face, you look like a madwoman.” Acidah said.
Acidah went about preparing the Oredenu and then spooned out three servings into individual clay plates. She cut three large slices of flatbread. When she was done she stacked everything into a neat square box. She freshened herself too and tied a scarf on her head.
” Bring some food for the guards too.” Magoba suggested
When the women set off to the Elders Parade, it was just about sundown. When they arrived at the guards, Acidah cunningly said,
” The Elders have ordered us to bring you and the prisoners some Oredenu to break your fast.”
Pausing to look at the women, one of the guards greedily began taking the food.
” Wait Gaji, shouldn’t we check with Elder Porbok to make sure.” Tiki his fellow guard asked.
” The Elders will be busy at the square breaking the tribal fast and doing the ceremony. Besides it’s just some food they sent, what’s the big deal, they are thinking about us, they care.” Gaji replied already opening his food and sitting down to eat.
“ Ok, you can go in and deliver the food but make it very quick. Let me see inside the box.” Tiki ordered
After inspecting Acidah and Magoba the guard led them to where the women were chained and left them to join Gaji before he ate up all the food.
When the imprisoned women saw their friends they all began talking at once
” Shhh! We don’t have much time. Take this medicine, it will make you unable to talk so they can’t question you.” Acidah said hurriedly
” What! Will we be dumb forever?” Maxine asked
” No, I have the remedy. As soon as they let you go I can give you the remedy. İt’s taboo to arrest you again for the same crime after you have been found innocent.” Acidah assured them
” I’m not taking it ohhhh.” Shaina said fearfully
” What would you rather, be tortured till you speak and accuse all of us. Have your hands and feet cut off? İf you can’t talk they can’t question you. That’s half of their evidence gone. Plus no one in the village can identify Kagobe liquid, it’s colorless and odorless like water. We will pay Najaaja the speaker to defend you and speak on your behalf at the Elders’ parade on the day of your trial. You may have a chance of getting off.“
The women still looked unconvinced, so Acidah said, trying her best to scare them
“it’s either this or Queen Nebuli will surely send assassins to kill you.”
At the mention of that, the women looked instantly fearful.
” Ok, I will take it,” Kym said.
“ Ok me too.” Maxine chipped in.
The two, Maxine and Kym, turned to look at Shaina. After some time, Shaina finally said
“ Ok give it to me too.“
Acidah watched as the women each downed the Tongue killer poison. What she didn’t tell them was that it would turn their tongues temporarily black and bumpy in a few hours.
” Here, hurry and eat something and collect up your strength.” Magoba said from behind Acidah and started handing out the food.
What Magoba did not know was that Acidah had still poisoned the women’s food but this time with a slow-acting poison that would make them grow increasingly tired as the days passed, until finally, they were dead. Acidah had decided she would take no chances.
The next day: Questioning at the Elders Parade.
When the Elders had gathered to hear the charges against the women and to hear the pieces of evidence against them, Elder Porbok too the center and began his case.
” Elders you see before us, three evil women who I witnessed with my own eyes and ears were poisoning our water wells with Kagobe liquid. İ have the bottle here in my hand with some of the very poison remaining. This what I am saying Elder Raffarin can also attest to as he was there and heard them as well.”
Elder Raffarin then stood up and confirmed all that Elder Porbok said.
” My brothers, we have amongst us the worst kind of betrayers. The most treacherous kind of enemies. We have those who we took for friends, family, and members of the tribe. They smiled to our faces but when our backs were turned they stabbed us in the neck, in the belly, and in our feet. These women have murdered our offspring. Let them not go unpunished. Elders I also feel there is more to this than just these three. We must question them thoroughly to uncover the true mastermind of these plans and where they got the Kagobe liquid.” Elder Porbok concluded.
” Bring the women forward!” Elder Tacan commanded the guards. Just then Najaaja the speaker, stood up to defend the women. He was a lover of gold and he was unscrupulous about who he defended as long as the reward was hefty.
” My Elders, it is not Mwebele’s way to pass judgment without a fair trial. These women say they were just throwing back some water in the well and that Elder Pirbok and Elder Raffarin misheard and misunderstood what they were saying. They hope that in your desperation to find an answer for these unfortunate events happening in Mweble, that you do not hastily serve them up to the slaughter. They maintain that they are innocent.” Najaaja the speaker concluded his opening words.
” Let’s begin the questioning, İ will go first. Maxine, you were seen with a pouch throwing something into the well. You say it’s water in the pouch. Since it’s water are you willing to drink some for us?” Elder Tacan craftily questioned.
To everyone’s surprise, the three women simultaneously opened their mouths and stuck out their tongues. What the Elders saw made them gasp and their stomachs curdle.
Each of the women’s tongues was black and swollen with large ulcerous-looking bumps on their tongues.
” Ahh, Ah! How did this happen? How did they become this way.” Elder Tacan exclaimed loudly
” İt seems they won’t be able to talk Elders. Have mercy and help them for it seems they have fallen victims to another unfortunate event in Mweble. Oh when will our chieftess return to put an end to these calamities oh!” The devilish Najaaja lamented.
The Elders council immediately erupted into an uproar. Some calling for chieftess Katya to come back.
” Be quiet, Be quiet!” Elder Porbok tried to bring order back to the assembled men. Just then some confusion broke out, outside the Elders parade. Men, women, and children kept falling down and foaming at the mouth.
” You see Elders, how can it be these women who are now locked up in chains, causing these our disasters. All blame must be laid squarely at the foot of Chieftess Katya.” Najaaja the speaker said boldly and loudly.
Realizing that the Elder’s meeting was getting out of hand, Elder Tacan and Elder Porbok called for a suspension of the trial until further notice.
When everyone had dispersed and the foaming men, women and children revived, Elder Porbok and Elder Tacan met up at Elder Porbok’s home to discuss the matter.
” How can our Elders be so blind and pig-headed? Can’t they discern that all of this is a distraction? Clearly, there are more culprits that don’t want us to know of their involvement.” Elder Porbok said angrily to Elder Tacan
” Mhmm now with these women unable to talk and with that smooth-tongued devil called Najaaja the truth might get buried.” Elder Tacan replied
” I know what I heard! It was definitely these women that poisoned the water. We must prove that whatever is in this here bottled pouch, that it is not water but poison.” Elder Porbok said with urgency
” Mweble people deal in healing medicines not poisons. We haven’t seen Kagobe leaves much less the liquid in almost a hundred years. None of our herbalists knows how to identify it.” Elder Tacan replied
” Can’t we test it?” Elder Porbok asked
” How would we? Are we to give it to a pregnant animal and watch it miscarry its calf? That is not our way!” Elder Tacan said heatedly.
” Ah ah, but how can we have so much evidence and this be happening? These women have a chance of actually slipping away like a slug from its shell. If they are acquitted we can never again put them on trial for the same crime. “ Elder Porbok said feeling very frustrated inside. He was sure within his very bones that these women poisoned the water and that there was a mastermind behind them.
” We must confirm that this is Kagobe liquid. That’s the most solid evidence we need.” Elder Tacan advised
” But how do we do that?” Elder Porbok asked
Sighing Elder Tacan said,
” There is only one tribe left that is close enough to us where we can find an expert in poisons. That is the Yarukats!”
” God forbid! God forbid! They are cannibals! They are wild!” Elder Porbok who had suddenly risen to his feet shouted.
” Just getting to their rock homes in the mountains is already very difficult but to have our warriors killed and eaten!” Elder Porbok continued.
” Calm yourself, man! This is the great Mwebele tribe, we will not fear the Yarukats! Before so we will wipe them out! We will involve the Vickarge Kitabı in this matter. Since it has come to this and there are bigger forces trying to attack Queen Katya and King Zolokhan. As for the Yarukats, let me personally deal with them. I have the emblem of the dead chief, Chief Jamshakhan after I saved his life one day. It’s a token and a promise of help should I ever need it. The Yarukats cannot refuse me!” Elder Tacan said courageously.
” When will you go?” Elder Porbok asked, his admiration for his friend rising tenfold
” We will set out this very night! You will follow up with Vickarge Kitabı while i am gone.” Elder Tacan instructed
” With you gone those idiots in the Elder’s meeting will want to rant about Chieftess Katya. Even that Elder Raffarin is so biased that he would promptly forget what he overheard those women said just so he could blame our Chieftess. When this is all over and sorted out, I will let the Chieftess know about all her secret enemies and have every one of them weeded out.” Elder Porbok said
” Mhmm let us be quick about this then. I will travel with ten of our best and fastest warriors. I won’t be back until about four to five days should all go well.” Elder Tacan stated
” It will go well, my friend. Also, describe this black tongue to the Yarukats, perhaps they know how to cure it as well. Then those women would have to talk.” Elder Porbok suggested to Elder Tacan.
Getting up and hugging each other, each man set off about their task. Elder Tacan journeyed go to the dreaded Yarukats and Elder Porbok to the Vickarge Kitabi.
Written By Sher Trott-Bailey. ” Now that the Chieftess is away, we Elders cannot allow Mwebele to fall apart.” Elder Tacan shouted vehemently. ” It’s because the Chieftess is away that all these things are happening!” an angry Elder Raffarin shouted back ” Exactly! Exactly! Our Chieftess has gone galavanting and has left us in…Read MoreRead More